Emerging right-hander Julio Teheran shoots for a third straight winning start on Monday night as the Atlanta Braves open up a three- game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Teheran has given up just three runs and 15 hits over his last four starts, striking out 27. That surge, which includes a pair of no-decisions prior to consecutive wins, has pushed his season record to 9-5 with an excellent 2.96 earned run average in 22 starts.
In the midst of his first full season in the majors, Teheran hurled six innings of one-run ball to beat the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer in the third inning by Bryce Harper, who seemed to take his time rounding the bases after the long blast.
Intentional or not, Teheran plunked Harper with a pitch in the fifth inning. Both benches cleared, but nothing further happened.
"I was surprised," Teheran told Atlanta's website of Harper's reaction. "I just was trying to get in there (with the fastball). I didn't want to make a mistake like I did with the homer. That's how I hit him."
The 22-year-old will face the Phillies for the first time this season and is 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA in two previous encounters with one start.
The Phillies counter with Cole Hamels, who is in the midst of his own solid stretch that has righted his season a bit.
Having already set a single-season career high for losses, Hamels has a 2.16 ERA over his last seven starts with a 2-2 record in that span.
The 29-year-old left-hander has not factored into his last two outings and is without a victory since July 9. He held the Chicago Cubs to a pair of runs over seven innings as his club lost 5-2 last Wednesday.
Hamels is 4-13 with a 3.81 ERA in 24 starts this season and will face off against the Braves for the first time since his season debut on April 1, when he was tagged for five runs over five innings. He gave up homers to Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Justin Upton in falling to 12-8 lifetime in this series with a 3.73 ERA in 29 games (28 starts).
It is unknown if Hamels will face Upton tonight after the Braves outfielder exited Sunday's 9-4 win over Miami in the fifth inning with a left hamstring cramp. It is not considered serious and Upton is day-to-day.
One day after having a 14-game win streak halted with a 1-0 setback, the Braves notched 12 hits versus the Marlins, including RBI doubles from Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson during a four-run seventh inning.
Freeman added a three-run homer and Mike Minor logged his 12th victory after allowing four runs -- three in the second inning -- over seven innings.
"It was a good offensive day for us and Minor was outstanding," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "These guys battled, these guys are tough and they like to compete. It was a good team effort today."
Atlanta maintained its 14 1/2-game lead for first place in the NL East over Washington, which swept Philadelphia in three games over the weekend.
The Phillies were the victim of Stephen Strasburg's first career shutout on Sunday, falling 6-0.
Philadelphia never got a runner into scoring position and saw starter Kyle Kendrick give up six runs -- four earned -- on 11 hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings as the Phillies lost their 11th straight on the road and for the 17th time in their past 20 overall.
The Phils are 19 1/2 games back of the Braves.
"Since I've been managing the in the Major Leagues, this is definitely the toughest stretch we ever had. I'm pretty sure of it. But yeah, it's tough. I don't know what you're going to do about it. You've got to come out here and play tomorrow. That's all you can do," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who remains stuck on 999 career wins.
The Braves have won six of nine versus the Phillies this year, taking two of three at home over Philadelphia to begin the season in April.